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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  September 27, 2018 4:30am-5:01am BST

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against thejudge. the president claimed the allegations were part of a "big fat con job" by the democrats, but hinted he might withdraw support forjudge kavanaugh if testimony due to be heard on thursday is convincing. the real name of one of the men accused of the nerve agent poisoning in the english city of salisbury in march has been revealed. the investigative website bellingcat says the man who called himself ruslan boshirov, and said he was a tourist, is in fact a colonel in russian military intelligence. the russian activist who invaded the pitch during this summer's world cup final, and then fell ill, has accused vladimir putin's secret services of poisoning him. pyotr verzilov, a member of the anti—kremlin group pussy riot, has now been released from hospital and is recovering in germany. you're up to date with the headlines. now on bbc news, it's time for hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk.
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i'm stephen sackur. the old certainties in europe are crumbling. voters seem fed up with a long—established supremacy of of the parties of centre—right and centre—left. the politics of identity and raw emotion have fuelled populist insurgencies from italy to sweden, to eastern europe. mostly it is the right, not the left, in the ascendant. well, my guest is yanis varoufakis, greece's radical leftist finance minister at the height of the economic crisis, and an advocate of a new global progressive politics. but is he losing the argument in europe? yanis va roufakis,
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welcome to hardtalk. you still play a political role. you have a new political party, which you are determined to make a force in greece and in europe. but would you accept that as a radical, as a leftist, the tide in europe, the tide of public opinion is running against you? absolutely. civilisation is in retreat. we are experiencing a new, a post—modern 1930s moment. the liberal establishment has made a mess of it. they have been insisting on policies that are failing left, right and centre. and they are crumbling, like the weimar republic. thankfully not with the brownshirts of the streets yet,
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but we have the nationalist republic rising across europe. look at the salvini phenomenon in italy and so on. we are losing the battle. this is why this is the time to regroup across a broad alliance of progressives, democrat, liberals, left—wingers, that have civilisation at the heart. before we drill down into the detail of that analysis, i do want to ask you whether you think it is justifiable to, as so many progressives and leftists do, use this trope about europe looking like europe in the 1930s. historian neil ferguson addressed that recently, saying it is nonsense and lazy. if one takes one example, italy, you just mentioned the fascists and mrsalvini. he has abandoned and we spoke with him the other day on hardtalk, he has abandoned many of his more radical positions, particularly on leaving the eurozone.
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well, he hasn't. he has strategically placed this on the backburner for a year. and we can discuss this next year. but what he has primarily done is that he has used the same storyline from the 1930s of promising the average italian, whose income has been, per capita, falling for 20 years, there's no doubt about that, to restore his pride back byjustifies just opposing him against the migrant, even the italian roma. this is exactly the same as the 19305. it isn't exactly the same as the 1930s. in italy... i didn't say it is exactly the same. i said a post—modern version of it. thankfully history does not repeat itself exactly. the point is, you need in the sense to set this idea up to make the case for your own radical, leftist, progressive politics. and i put it to you that there is a fundamental exaggeration. when you talk about this post—modern crisis in europe
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look at germany, look at france, look even at italy, look even at sweden — where yes, the far—right democrats did well, but 83% of the nation didn't vote for them. you're setting up a notion of europe in crisis which simply isn't true. i wish you were right. but i don't think you are. the fascists and the parochials and the extreme nationalists do not need to win government in order to change the complexion of europe. look at, for instance, france, where le pen never won, but, nevertheless, she infected the right wing party of the republicans, so much that on social issues, civil liberties, even the socialist party voted for legislation that would make mrs le pen exceptionally proud. this is how it works. they do well and then push the whole political spectrum in an antiliberal and rabid nationalist direction.
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to the extent that now we have a fragmentation of the european union. all right. if the alarm bells and the emergency sirens going off all across europe, how come in your own country, greece, right now, if one looks at the opinion polls, out in front is the new democracy party, the mainstream age—old centre—right party. your old party, syriza, the radical leftist government of the moment, they are struggling in the polls, but your own even more radical progressive offering, your new party, you're struggling to get even a single percentage point of the vote in the latest opinion polls. well, i would say that is unfair, because we have just started the party. judge us at the election, that is the only opinion poll. especially for a party that is not known to exist in greece
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at the moment. take my point. allow me to address the point directly. firstly, firstly, the real winners of opinion polls are the apathy and discontent with the political system. the majority of greeks today declared, through opinion polls, that they're not going to participate in the democratic triumph celebration at the ballot box. that is the greatest defeat of democracy. people who actually say that they're going to vote for the mention parties that you mentioned, they will do this defensively. they will not do it with any degree of enthusiasm. the democratic system can only function when citizens are engaged. at the moment, citizens across europe are becoming disengaged from the political process. this is something that we should all worry about, as long as we are democrats. you are a democrat, right? committed, passionate... because you point towards other ways in which people can alter the political landscape. to be clear, you're absolutely, four square a democrat.
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i am staunchly a democrat. stephen, i grew up in a dictatorship. i value nothing more than the rule of law and the democratic process. the direct action that you mentioned is absolutely essential. participating in town hall meetings. participating in workplace democracy. these are the pillars of a liberal democratic process. we have spoken before about what happened in 2015, when, for about nine months, i believe, you were finance minister. i don't want to go through the whole thing again. 5.5, you're exaggerating. maybe it seemed longer. it was very compressed. that's for sure! looking back at the perspective of being in september of ‘is, can you now acknowledge that actually, alexis tsipras and his syriza government took the right decisions? absolutely not.
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i wish i could. the one thing i would like to do more than anything is leave the political scene and, you know, write my books, and read poetry, and applaud alexis tsipras, or whoever is in power, so to speak, or in government. look, look, look. but the suggestion is exactly... look at the reality. greece has finally escaped... really? ..from the boot of the troika. the imf, the eu. not really. yes, really. let's look at the facts, were we? greece has massive debt, but greece can now shape its own economic future. who told you that? greece is bankrupt. mr tsipras said just the other month when finally the bailout conditions were lifted, "a new beginning, an historic break with the past." and he's ready started talking about his own economic policy with tax breaks, higher social benefits. you've met many politicians in your life. i don't believe you're so gullible
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as to expect a politician to tell you the truth, especially when he is presiding over a complete catastrophe. one in two families in greece as we speak have no—one working in them. one in two families, i will repeat this, have no one working in them. one third of the working greeks are receiving less than 384 euros a month in a country which is not cheap. we have about 10—15,000 youngsters, well—educated ones, leaving the country, migrating, every month. to consider this to be a success story, and, by the way, we are still in the... under the thumb of the troika. walking away from the debt defying the germans and the european union. i never propose to walk away. if your philosophy had been followed, greece would have, ultimately, been insolvent, crashed out of the eurozone, and those families you talk about today would be even worse. firstly i was proposing technically competent debt swaps that would have made the debt payable
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so that we wouldn't need to destroy the private sector with tax rates and rates for social security payments which, stephen, listen this, 75% of profits a small business now has to pay the state. 75% of profits. you don't have to be left—wing or right wing to realise that this is what you do to a country when you want to destroy it. let's stick to what is happening in europe today. in so many countries, the radical left proposition does not appear to be appealing to — if i can put it this way — the left behind, the alienated working class, those who are feeling insecure, angry, disappointed, and neglected. those of the people, whether you talk about donald trump's america or in europe, those sorts of people appear to feel more of the connection with parties
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of the populist nationalist right. why is the left—wing proposition not appealing to them? because it is not square up. because the left has failed to put forward a progressive agenda that makes people think, "ah ha, this might work." this is a terrible failure on the part of the latter. and it is essential that those of us who identify themselves as left—wingers begin with self—criticism. and that is why — and let me answer your question specifically. we have failed to put forward a kind of new deal agenda that extends beyond ideological borderlines and national borderlines. europe today needs what fdr did in 1933, we need a new deal for europe. and unless we create an alliance across national borders, and across the standard party political divisions,
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we will fail. the only beneficiaries will be those who turn one proud people against the other, northern europeans against the southern europeans, the europeans against the africans, or the syrians. and, indeed, europeans against europeans. politics is very much about emotion as well as rationality and logic. when you put forward your proposition and to flesh out a little bit, you have talked about a new international monetary system that must be created, and international wealth fund. you've talked about an international digital currency they could ensure that your new fair world of finance would have its own sort of electronic currency. all of this, i would put you, doesn't get to the emotional heart of where politics is today. it is those people who are talking about the dangers of mass immigration, those who are talking about the need for secure borders — they're the people in europe
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who appear to connect with so many of the voters. you are quite right. this is why we need... why aren't you doing it? why are the left not addressing the issue of immigration? the reason why some of us created a democracy movement in europe, which seeks to be a movement bringing together notjust the left but liberals, even progressive conservatives, those of us who are eager to agree on a believable, credible, progressive agenda for europe, this is why we created diem25, because we don't believe the left has what it takes. but let me answer your point. because you made a good point. you made the point that it is important to unite emotion and rationality. we say to people who are lured by the nationalist narrative of secure borders, of the anti—migrant narrative... what is your proposition to people who are generally concerned? what we say on an emotional level, mostly, we say we need
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to take our countries back. we need to get our towns back. we have to get our europe back. because problems with private debt can be mortgages, with public debt, with low levels of investment, with uberisation of jobs, they cannot be sorted out at the level of england, italy, or germany. we need to look at these problems together and have a solution. so hang on. let me stop you there. what you do said is really important. so at heart you are a multilateralist, and for all of your critique of the eu when you were finance minister, you seem to be saying we still need multilateral, even globalist solutions — and i come back to all the stuff you write about global greed investment programmes, globalfair trade deals, global minimum living wages imposed on... you are talking to somebody who paraded up and down this country before thejune 2016 referendum
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and i campaigned feverishly against brexit and in favour of remain, even though no one would accuse me of being a lapdog of brussels. but my point is that you are out of tune with the spirit of the times. people are thinking very much, it seems, in terms of nationalism, in terms of their borders, their security. here are you, proposing all of these new, multilateral, extremely ambitious global institutions. except — except — except that firstly they would work in contrast and juxtaposition to the current institutions, thatare failing... how can you be confident that they would work? let's debate what's on the table. by the way, i am a collector. i borrow from the best. you mentioned the digital international currency, that is not my idea, that isjohn maynard keynes in191m, it wasn't digital back then.
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well, you have updated it somewhat. and that is what we must do. what is this ‘we‘ — ‘we must do‘? we have just discussed for much of this interview the problems facing the european union because of a deficit, you do not recognise the legitimacy of eu institutions, yet here we are talking about ‘we‘ being some sort of global institution that sets up its own currency. who is this ‘we‘? let me answer the question. in may 2019, our movement is going to stand in the european parliament elections and we are going to stand in greece, we are going to stand with our friends and colleagues in denmark of the alternative party, we are going to stand in poland with a feminist—led political progressive party, we are going to run in elections in italy against salvini — that is who we are and our challenge is how to create a narrative of inclusiveness that is completely humanistic, antinationalist and internationalist. 0k.
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and you've just laid out that you're going to fight in elections, and as — let's face it — you've said you're a democrat, and you're going to walk the walk as well as talk the talk and i respect that, but if one looks at current polling, and as you say, diem has been around for a couple of years, but you are new, so the fact that you are scoring virtually zero in the polls, we'll let that pass. it's bankrupt for polling organisations to carry out polls. what i want to get to is this, the only country in europe, right now, where the left, in its more radical form, is actually doing well — or at least gaining traction with a significant part of the population — is in the united kingdom. indeed. so what makes — and you know the uk very well — what, in yourview, makes jeremy corbyn‘s labour party different from so many of the other left movements in europe and across the world today? well, the brexit has had a lot to do with it, because brexit has been a slap in the face of progressives.—
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independently of their view about what brexit is. i was going to say the labour party is confused about what brexit so i can't see how... well, it is because it is a confusing issue. if you are not confused about brexit, you are fanatical. i can't see how brexit can be the driver of the momentum. what brexit did was it created a realisation in this country that british democracy and its role in the world cannot be taken for granted. it needs to be reinvented, and this is — this is a — let's look at the bright side. this gives the people of britain an opportunity to reconsider their position in the world, and i believe that jeremy has been doing a very good job at recognising that the last 30 years of privatisation, of moving towards a business model that effectively tied the economy's growth onto bubbles, on the housing bubble and on the city of london, and he is causing a reassessment of this. interesting, because he would say —
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you talked about the last generation of politicians in the uk who in your view played that sort of neoliberal economic gain, you would say that tony blair was in left of centre politician. what does it mean? on the one hand, he was, because he gave a little money to the national health service, money that the tories starved the national health service of. but at the very same time, he did it by aligning himself completely with the city of london, i turning a blind eye to the private money minting of the private banks, and creating the circumstances that led to 2008 and to the collapse in 2008. what i am getting to is thatjohn mcdonnell, the current shadow chancellor
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of the exchequer here in the uk has just made a big speech, where he has painted a picture of a radical economic programme, including just one example, the mandatory imposition on business in the uk of a need to have 10% of their shares given to the workers in the company. the dividends would then go to those workers and they would be a cap on the amount of dividend to be received by each worker and the excess beyond that would go to the government, so it would actually be a huge new corporate tax. it would fundamentally change the relationship between the state and the corporate centre in the uk in a very sort of left—of—centre sort of way. do you really belive the british people are going to vote for that? i think so. and i'm very glad to have heard john mcdonnell put forward the idea. have you talked tojohn mcdonnell about that programme?
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he is saying exactly some of the things you have said about that programme. i am proposing a social wealth fund where10% of the shares after every capital raising by companies go into a public wealth funds, and the dividends are distributed in the form of a universal basic dividend. whereas the labour party is divvying them up amongst the workers within those corporations. what i think is very important — remember this is not even in the manifesto yet. this is part of the liberal party conference, it may go in the manifesto, i hope it does. it is a fairly interesting discussion though that we must have, even the tories must have, about the division between capital and labour. put it differently, stephen, once upon a time when an industrialist bought a machine, the industrialist could claim the profits that the machine produced for the company. but these days of google and facebook, every time you search on your google search engine for something, you are providing capital to google, and no—one is getting the returns for that except for google. we have to reconsider property rights over the returns of capital,
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and the labour party is the only party in the world that is doing this. this is the answer to your question "why is it thatjeremy corbyn‘s labour party are picking up votes and support, unlike other left wing parties around the world?" so for you, definitely, the uk labour party represents a beacon of hope. but throughout this interview you have been saying we must do this, we must do that, and i have been pointing out that actually in the real world and the world of opinion polls and politics, your ideas are not adding very much traction, if we leave aside the united kingdom. i disagree with you. is there a point where you at some point say to yourself democratic politics doesn't work? one labour mp said recently "we need to topple this government, if we can't do it at the ballot box, we will do it with a general strike by working with the trade unions." is that your kind of politics? well, firstly, a strike is not illegal, the last time i checked. i am not saying it is illegal,
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i am saying is that your view of where your kind of politics needs to go? firstly, let's be very clear because these are dangerous politics with the rise of extremists around the world and we have to be very be in a language and in the way that we support democracy. so the answer directly, i am going to quote from winston churchill, "the democratic process is pretty awful, it is pretty nasty, but it is the best of all alternatives, and we have to be prepared to defend it with our lives." i think that is a pretty straightforward answer your question. now, whether strikes are part of the political democratic process, i believe that they are. and on that note, we have to end. thank you. good morning.
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it's been a lovely spell of autumn warmth for some of you so far this week. yesterday, we saw temperatures reach 2a degrees in lincolnshire. same spots, though, by the time we hit friday could be a good 10 degrees lower, if not a little bit more. and it's during the next 2a hours we'll see those changes take place. it's all because we've got cold air at the moment pooling to the north of this weather front, which is set to work its way southwards. to start the day, it's across parts of north and west scotland, and because of the more cloudier outbreaks of rain, notice the warm colours on the temperature chart to start the day. coolest colours in the south, where we've got temperatures in single figures for the morning commute, even a touch of frost in one or two spots. but lots of sunshine through england and wales to start with. bit more cloud north—west england
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perhaps compared with yesterday. sunshine to the south and east of scotland, northern ireland, but in the north and west, cloud, outbreaks of rain, most persistent in the highlands and islands in the morning before it turns to sunshine and showers as that showery band of rain pushes across the rest of scotland through the day, northern ireland into the afternoon and the far north of england. and so by the end of the day, notice how we reverse the fortunes. cooler air‘s to the north, warmer air‘s to the south, where we could be a degree or so higher as far as temperatures are concerned than we were during yesterday afternoon. the sunshine continues. finished with sunshine across the north, but temperatures in the teens. those clearer skies will work their way southwards behind a fragmenting area of cloud and just one or two showers as it works towards southern counties of england. not quite clear on the south coast for the start of friday, so it'll be a milder night here to take us into friday morning rush—hour. a colder one further north with a touch of frost possible just about anywhere. into friday, high pressure is building in, keeping things dry. but as that cold front clears away, we've got all of us seeing the door open to the colder conditions. so a much chillier day on friday right from the start. we'll see the morning cloud in southern counties of england clear.
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that will lead to some sunnier conditions for the rest of the day. sunny spells really for most, just a few showers in the north and west of scotland, northern ireland later. but friday, note the temperatures, 12—16 degrees — a big drop on what some have been used to so far this week. and we continue with the cool conditions through the night and into the start of the weekend. high pressure, though, largely in charge. so a dry start, even if it's a little bit of a frosty one for some of you. sunshine best across england and wales, but clouding over to scotland, northern ireland through the day. showers and outbreaks of rain mainly limited to the highlands and islands, and temperatures still generally around the mid—teens for the most part. by sunday, though, we'll see a bit more cloud drift southwards across england and wales. greater chance ofjust one or two showers here and there. showery scene, though, both scotland and northern ireland. bit more of a breeze, and we stay with things on the cool side. a big change from what we've had so far this week. this is the briefing. i'm sally bundock. our top story: president trump defends his supreme court nomination brett kavanaugh, but says he could change his mind if he's convinced by claims of sexual misconduct.
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one of the salisbury chemical attack suspects is identified as a high ranking russian spy after an investigation by a security website. fears that moscow's also meddling in macedonia's upcoming referendum, which could see it move closer to the eu and nato. coming up in the business briefing: hey, big spenders! italy's populist coalition release their first budget amid growing fears about the country's finances. also coming up: the imf ramps up the size of argentina's bailout programme to stave off a worsening economic crisis.
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